NFL Week 7 game picks: Cardinals edge Seahawks; Patriots roll

Rivalry week in the NFL, on several levels.

We kick off Week 7 with the oldest grudge match in NFL history between the Bears and Packers -- two sides who've been going at it since 1921. Green Bay lost that first meeting 20-0, by the way. Samkon Gado couldn't get it going on the ground.

Here's another 20-nothing ... The Bills lock up with the Dolphins in an AFC East tilt. Did you know Buffalo never beat Miami in the entire decade of the '70s? That includes two meetings per season, for 10 years.

You have to wonder if the Texans can beat the Broncos on the road in the Brock Osweiler bowl. That's a dual rivalry, actually -- don't forget about Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak going against his former team.

And I haven't even gotten to your standard divisional showdowns, like Colts at Titans, Browns at Bengals or a juicy sucker on Sunday night, Seahawks at Cardinals.

Before we get to my predix, though, a little Power Rankings bookkeeping ...

Yep, John. This poor kid in the UK with a sweet name is probably getting hate mail from Falcons fans right now. Love doing the snapchat Power Rankings, but the Twitter handle is @HarrisonNFL.

No, you're right, Andreas. Thanks for checking in from Denmark. Here's the love: Richard Sherman can pull an arm down as well as anyone.

All right, enough fraternizing with the locals. The picks are below and I believe they are better than last week's edition, in which your friendly prognosticator lost one close game after another in the final moments. So frustrating. Send your frustrated thoughts along: [@HarrisonNFL](/share/page/site/nfl-com/">@HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 8-7 on his predictions for Week 6, giving him a record of 57-35 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 7? His picks are below:

Is the Giants' offense back on track? Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. have connected for three touchdowns over the last two weeks, while Beckham put up two bills receiving versus the Ravens. The Rams' defense presents a stiffer challenge in London. With Los Angeles cornerback Trumaine Johnson ailing, covering Beckham should be a group effort. The Rams sorely need Robert Quinn back healthy to apply pressure on Manning. Staying on the health front, with Rashad Jennings now back, the Giants should run the football more -- in theory. Rams running back Todd Gurley hasn't come close to posting a 100-yard game, and it won't get easier against a Big Blue defense that allows 3.5 yards per carry. NY-LA presents a sleek matchup, with the two largest markets in the U.S. playing in London. Just wondering if either of these teams is any good at this point. #NYGvLA

How much of Sunday's contest in Kansas City will be on Drew Brees' shoulders? As written about in this week's Power Rankings, the Saints' franchise quarterback is being asked to carry this team at 37 years old. Brees lifted his team last week over the rival Panthers, but he hasn't been particularly strong on the road recently. This season, he's tossed three touchdowns and two picks in two away games with a passer rating a little north of 80. Last season, his passer rating was 25 points lower away from home (112.5 to 87.7). The Chiefs are coming off a strong performance in which they shut down the high-octane Raiders passing attack. On that note, would you believe Kansas City corner Marcus Peters has more INTs (13) since 2015 than the entire Saints team (11)? #NOvsKC

The Titans' pass rushers were all over Browns quarterback Cody Kessler last Sunday. My good buddy, NFL researcher @MarkDulgerianOS, says, "Yeah, but Kessler's offensive line is terrible." So maybe it's garbage. The Colts' line is a diamond in the rough -- with 90 percent of it being rough. Tennessee blitzes 30.5 percent of the time, tops in the league, which presents quite the problem for Andrew Luck after what he saw late in last Sunday's Texans game: flashing colors, usually not his own, with the game on the line. Luck's passer rating against the blitz is 69.8 Not good. Frank Gore putting up 100 yards for the Colts again would help immeasurably. That said, I think Marcus Mariota's improved play for Tennessee, coupled with the weak Indy defense, spells a Titans win. #INDvsTEN

The Eagles will give the Vikings a game. The question is, how much game will rookie Philly QB Carson Wentz have against a top-shelf defense? By almost every statistical measure, the Vikings are dominating:

» They've allowed 17 points or less in nine straight games, including the playoffs.

» They're giving up a meager 4.4 yards per play, the lowest mark in the league.

» Minnesota is one of two teams boasting three players with four or more sacks.

Maybe the Eagles can slow down that pass rush with Ryan Mathews and the running game -- except for the fact that three times this season, he's had less than 10 carries. Darren Sproles is a change-of-pace player, not a lead back. This will be the fastest defense Wentz has ever seen, although it should be noted that Wentz owns the top completion percentage against the blitz in the league (75.8). The Vikings blitz 25 percent of the time. #MINvsPHI

If this game were in Cleveland, I would pick the Browns in an upset. They just don't usually pull off the win in Cincinnati. Actually, they never seem to pull out a win, period. Since Marvin Lewis became the Bengals' front man, the Browns have prevailed at Paul Brown stadium only three times (in 2003, 2008 and 2014). Most recently, Cleveland earned a W in a brilliant defensive performance that resulted in everyone questioning Andy Dalton's ability. After posting a 2.0 passer rating in that contest, the Red Rifle responded with a 143.9 passer rating the next week. Last year, Dalton found himself in the MVP race. The quarterback is not the problem this year, either, as an oft-absent run game has provided no spark. In a similar vein, if the Browns are to win, they must bust Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson loose. Cleveland's ground attack retreated a few times in Nashville last weekend. #CLEvsCIN

I always feel nervous picking the Lions, but I figure the Redskins' winning streak has to end somewhere, and Detroit has looked better in recent weeks. Both of these clubs beat the Eagles within the past two weeks with solid situational defense. Think both Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford will fare well in this game. Did you know that since Week 7 of the 2015 season, Cousins and Stafford are the second- and third-highest-rated passers? Cousins and Stafford! Back to situational defense: This game could be decided by how Washington's unit fares on third down. The Lions are converting 46.5 percent of their third-down attempts, an extremely high number (and third-best in the NFL). #WASvsDET

The Raiders might not be built for long-term success, what with their inability to run the ball and their persistently leaky defense, but they can put points on the board. Oakland QB Derek Carr has been mostly stellar when the outcome has been in doubt. Prior to the Week 6 loss to the Chiefs, Carr had been the NFL's top passer when trailing and one of the very best in the fourth quarter. That's interesting, at least in terms of this matchup, because the Jaguars have fared surprisingly well in the fourth quarter this year -- they are ninth in passer rating allowed and fourth in total yards allowed. Jacksonville is also allowing the fewest 10-yard plays in the league this year, so it isn't as easy to get chunk plays on the defense. Unfortunately, Jacksonville's offense struggles in that realm as much as the Jags' opponents do. Blake Bortles has been the worst passer in the league on the deep ball (with a 27.3 passer rating on passes that travel over 20 yards in the air). That said, Bortles should find plenty of openings in a weak Raiders secondary -- thus, I think this game is a higher-scoring affair. #OAKvsJAX

Riding the hot hand here. No, not Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor -- and no, not the Dolphins, who are coming off one of the most shocking wins of the season. Buffalo has won four games in a row on the legs of LeSean McCoy (who missed practice Thursday and could be a game-time decision Sunday) and on the backs of the entire defensive unit. So much for Rex Ryan getting fired -- the Bills have made talking about coordinators sexy again. Dennis Thurman is calling a helluva game these days as DC. Since being named OC four weeks ago, Anthony Lynn improved the Bills per-game rushing number from 75.5 over the season's first two weeks to 211.8 in Weeks 3 through 6 ... 211.8!!!!! That's a huge number. Good thing the Dolphins own the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense. Miami's offense has looked much, much better in recent weeks, but I think the Dolphins will see the ball less this week. #BUFvsMIA

With Ryan Fitzpatrick presumably getting ready to audition for the role of the Green Knight at Medieval Times (the Green Knight only gets intercepted by lances), it's Geno Smith time. Yes, his career numbers (57.9 percent completion rate, 27 touchdowns, 36 picks and a 71.9 passer rating) are less than encouraging. And Geno got pizza rolled in his only career start against the Ravens (40.9 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 22.3 in 2013). But maybe there's something to be said for interrupted momentum: His last time out as a starter, in Week 17 of the 2014 season, Smith carved up the Dolphins for 358 yards, three touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Of course, there's the matter of Baltimore's run defense -- tops in the league thus far -- which means Matt Forte might have a hard time hitting the 20-yard barrier again. On the bright side for the Jets, Terrell Suggs is dealing with a torn bicep. (Note to all you frat guys out there: Doing curls for the girls could cause you to get less sacks.) Offensively, banged-up Ravens QB Joe Flacco is averaging a paltry 6 yards per throw. This could get ugly fast, like the score. #BALvsNYJ

Wondering if anyone is going to offer up any watchable offense this weekend in Santa Clara. Yep, this could be a fugly deal. The visiting Bucs average only 4.8 yards per play, which is the second-lowest mark in the NFL. At least the 49ers make up for it by averaging 4.6. Tampa Bay has lost three straight games following a bye week. That's OK: San Francisco has lost five straight games -- period. The 49ers' point differential (minus-58) is the worst figure in the NFC. Overall, I like Jameis Winston, going on two weeks of tape, in this game. Need to see more from Colin Kaepernick, although Tampa's D present far less of a challenge than the Bills' unit. #TBvsSF

Another potential upset? Not because the Falcons just lost in Seattle and they're beaten down. Rather, I just get the feeling that these Chargers are playing their hearts out for head coach Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers, who isn't operating with a full deck out there. Think I am making excuses for San Diego's 2-4 record? Look at it this way: What would the Falcons' record be without Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman? Granted, Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead aren't of the same caliber, but they are as important to the Chargers' offense. Both Matt Ryan and Rivers like throwing the ball -- in fact, those two rank first (263.9) and third (253.5), respectively, when it comes to passing yards per game among quarterbacks who've never won a Super Bowl in NFL history. (No. 2? Dan Marino, of course.)

 **Trivia:** San Diego has lost eight of nine meetings against the 
 [Falcons](/teams/atlantafalcons/profile?team=ATL). The Bolts' only win came in 1988. Which 
 [Chargers](/teams/sandiegochargers/profile?team=SD) RB (and former USFL star) ran for 145 yards that day? ( 

Tom Brady vs. Landry Jones!!!!! Yeah ... Not exactly the QB duel we were hotly anticipating.

What was once the darling game of the Week 7 schedule took a major hit this week when Ben Roethlisberger was forced to go under the knife. And with Ryan Shazier questionable, Pittsburgh could be hurting on both sides of the ball. Look for James White to excel if Shazier is indeed absent. He's a nice receiver out of the backfield who has caught 12 balls (and scored two touchdowns) since Tom Brady returned -- after logging 13 grabs and zero TDs in the first four games of the season. When it comes to the Steelers' offense, well, it's important to note that backup quarterbacks are 14-47 against the Belichick Patriots, averaging less than 20 points per game on offense. Important, as in, Pittsburgh loses. #NEvsPIT

Heckuva matchup that's lost a little luster, given that neither team has been dominant. The Seahawks' primary charge this week will be stopping David Johnson, who is the most complete back in football this side of Le'Veon Bell. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is enjoying another fine season. Do you realize he has the second-highest passer rating in NFL history? Crazy talk. The wild card in this matchup could be Michael Floyd, who seemingly emerged from the doghouse this past Monday night to see more time on the field. Remember, it was Floyd who carved up the Seahawks on Sunday night last year with seven catches for 113 yards and two tugs. For all the talk of the Seahawks' offensive line holding them back, they've averaged 30 points per game over the last three outings. Still, giving Arizona the edge in the desert. #SEAvsAZ

Brock Lobster's revenge. Es la venganza del quarterback de los Tejanos!

(Just gonna let that sit there and resonate.)

Osweiler might as well have been teaching español through the first 55 minutes last Sunday night versus the Colts. While he got it going late on that day, this Broncos defense simply won't provide the creases in coverage. Nor will Osweiler enjoy 4.5 seconds to pick a receiver. Von Miller is the best edge rusher in football. Shane Ray has done a viable enough job of making DeMarcus Ware's prolonged absence less noticeable. Shaquil Barrett has made several plays. Running right into the teeth of the Denver front with Lamar Miller makes sense, although I don't anticipate him being able hit the gas on those outside runs like he did vs. Indy. Give the W to Gary Kubiak. #HOUvsDEN


With injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks leaving running duties to undrafted rookie Don Jackson, Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb and a guy they just picked up Tuesday, the Packers' offense is a mess. Speaking of messes, that's what some people think Aaron Rodgers is. The Green Bay quarterback's passer rating right now is a mediocre 88.4, which would be the lowest of his career as a starter. Truth be told, though, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdown passes in five games and isn't as awful as all the Negative Nancys out there would have you believe. Besides what the eye test tells you, there is one noticeable difference, though: Rodgers' yards-per-attempt mark (6.5) is roughly 1.5 yards under his career number (7.9). Meanwhile, the Bears' defense has looked better as of late, allowing the Lions only seven points in Week 4 (not including a punt-return touchdown) and the Jaguars 17 in Week 6. But Chicago's still not very good. Rodgers rebounds like a codependent ex-girlfriend.

 **Side note:** You have my pick for Thursday night, but be sure to make yours, as well. Go to to vote for "Which Team Will Win" or use #GoBearsTNF or #GoPackersTNF on Twitter. 

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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